Archive for February, 2009

As President Barack Obama talked about people getting involved during his campaign and now that he’s in office, we need to take his words to heart. It’s one thing to say “Yes we can!” and it’s another thing to figure out “What’s next?”   I get invited to a lot of community organizing events that people are developing because we have this overwhelming desire to get involved and make things happen.

For women, I think it’s time that we “Step up our game” and truly take charge and figure out what we can do for our families, communities and the country as a whole. Even as our economy is tanking, people are being laid off by the thousands in all our communities, we can take the initiative and figure out how we can improve our own personal situation and the broader community around us.  If you’ve been laid off or your spouse, of course we have to scramble to pay our bills, take care of our families and continue to manage our lives as successfully as we can.  We may not have the same kind of disposable income to afford the things we could even two months ago. However, money is not the only capital we have going for us.  If we don’t have the money because we’re not being paid, we have something even more important…..time!  We now have more time to look around and see how we can improve our families, communities and friends lives by participating, helping out and volunteering with groups that help to improve people’s lives.

Instead of rushing off to work everyday, picking up your kids, putting dinner on the table, helping with homework, etc.  why not squeeze in an extra hour or two to volunteer with your local school and help kids to read.  How about helping out an elderly neighbor who can’t drive or asking someone within your family or community if you can help take care of their kids for an hour or two while they can take care of other things they never have time for?

We’ve created a whole culture based on paying for services, and oftentimes paying a lot for those amenities.  Why not move to a culture of sharing, volunteering and bartering for services?  At Engage Her, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re creating a lot of opportunities for women to join us by volunteering for activities and helping others out. We’re bartering for services instead of paying for them. For example, we have a wonderful woman who lost her job and wants to become a web/graphic designer. Her skill set was in the print media where she laid out content for a large newspaper. So she’s taking classes in Dreamweaver and web based software to learn new skills so she can compete with the younger web designers.  We had a need to create a new extension to our website, so I proposed if she could apply her new skills and help us develop our website, we would help expose her to some brand new technology that would teach her website skills, shortcut her learning path and give her a client that she could apply her skill to.  We also could lead her to other clients who are willing to do something similar and help her build a strong portfolio of clients.

Why not explore bartering for services with your friends, neighbors, associates, co-workers and families?  If you have experience, skills, and a desire to learn something new, try bartering with people and learning a new skill along the way. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint or quilt but never took time to learn it. How about finding someone with the skills you want to learn and bartering for services you can provide in exchange for them teaching you things. You can be their apprentice and they can ask you to help with their marketing, or business plans, babysitting, who knows?  You could put an ad into Craig’s List and find a dream match for yourself.  You’ll find you’re connecting with people in a totally different fashion and when you take money out of the equation, you’ll be amazed how eager people are to learn something new and to give back to others. It works for us, try it yourself.  Mable


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